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The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses$
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James T. O'Reilly and Margaret S.P. Chalmers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199937936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937936.001.0001

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Introduction to a Complex Problem

Introduction to a Complex Problem

Chapter:
(p.3) Chapter 1 Introduction to a Complex Problem
Source:
The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses
Author(s):

James T. O’Reilly

Margaret S. P. Chalmers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937936.003.0001

Abuse of children and teens by clergy is a crime, but the greater scandal for organized religious denominations has been how their leaders ineptly responded to these violations. This text explains what lessons can be drawn from the U.S/ Catholic experience, especially in the context of Catholics in other nations who deal with traditional and slow canon law processes to adjudicate penalties. The chapter touches on the impact of canon law, the implications of civil tort liability, the threat of criminal prosecution, and the role of bishops. It also discusses the usefulness of lessons learned regarding the clergy sex abuse issue to other U.S. institutions.

Keywords:   canon law, civil tort liability, criminal prosecution, bishops, clergy sex abuse

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